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Full text of "Report of activities on peatland research 1985."

I* 



Agriculture 
Canada 

Research Direction generale 
Branch de la recherche 



Technical Bulletin 1 986-1 OE 




Report of activities 

on peatland research 1985 



\ 




The map on the cover has dots representing 
Agriculture Canada research establishments. 

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF PROGRESS 

The year 1 986 is the centennial of the Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 

On 2 June 1 886, The Experimental Farm Station Act received Royal Assent. The passage of this 
legislation marked the creation of the first five experimental farms located at Nappan, Nova 
Scotia; Ottawa, Ontario; Brandon, Manitoba; Indian Head, Saskatchewan (then called the North- 
west Territories); and Agassiz, British Columbia. From this beginning has grown the current sys- 
tem of over forty research establishments that stretch from St. John's West, Newfoundland, to 
Saanichton, British Columbia. 

The original experimental farms were established to serve the farming community and assist the 
Canadian agricultural industry during its early development. Today, the Research Branch con- 
tinues to search for new technology that will ensure the development and maintenance of a com- 
petitive agri-food industry. 

Research programs focus on soil management, crop and animal productivity, protection and re- 
source utilization, biotechnology, and food processing and quality. 



Report of activities 

on peatland research 1985 



Compiled and Edited by A. EAGLE and D. KROETSCH 
Land Resource Research Centre 
Ottawa, Ontario 

LRRC Contribution No. 86-03 



Research Branch 
Agriculture Canada 
1986 



Copies of this publication are available from: 
Land Resource Research Centre 
Research Branch, Agriculture Canada 
Ottawa, Ontario 
K1A 0C6 



Produced by Research Program Service 



© Minister of Supply and Services Canada 1 986 

Cat.No.A54-8/1986-10E 

ISBN 0-662-14878-9 



ABSTRACT 

This report of Activities summarizes a variety of work carried out by the 
Land Resource Research Institute, Agriculture Canada on peatland projects 
supported by the National Research Council (NRC) Peat Forum. The papers 
presented in this report are concerned with the characterization and analysis 
of peat in the field and in the laboratory. 

There are four papers presented in the report. The first paper discusses 
the importance of botanical composition as a criteria for the classification of 
organic soils and suggestions for the incorporation of botanical composition 
into the classification system are presented. The second paper presents 
suggestions for the use of micromorphological techniques to describe and 
characterize organic soils and discusses how micromorphological data can be 
used to compliment field observations and analytical data. The third paper 
discusses the importance of quality control procedures (the standardization of 
analytical procedures and the use of organic soil reference samples) for the 
analysis of organic soils. As well the progress towards the development of six 
reference samples is outlined. The final paper is a summary of results and 
discussion of a workshop on field tests and field methods for organic soils. 
The importance of standardization of field tests and suggestions of the 
acceptable limits of variability were presented. 



11 

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

Abstract i 

Summary iii 

The Role of Botanical Composition in the 

Classification of Peat - C. J. Selby 1 

Research Activities Applying Micromorphological 

Techniques to Characterizing Organic Soil 

Materials - C.A. Fox 10 

Quality Control and the Development of Six Organic Soil Reference 
Samples - A.E. Eagle 20 

Evaluation of Results Obtained During a 

Workshop on Field Tests and Field Methods for 

Organic Soils - D.J. Kroetsch 30 



Ill 



SUMMARY 



The physical and chemical characteristics of peat material are dependent 
upon the proportions and oriqins of the botanical constituents. The 
incorporation of botanical composition into a classification system for organic 
soils is desirable. The botanical origin is possibly the most widely used 
criterion in the classification of organic soils. However classes of botanical 
composition are not easily defined or well accepted. In the field only the 
identification of broad plant groups is possible. It is important that these 
plant groups be easily, consistently and reliably distinguished in the field 
with the aid of a hand lens. It is therefore desirable that these plant groups 
be adequately defined and mutually exclusive. An evaluation of the botanical 
composition of coastal British Columbia peat materials has been undertaken and 
a guide for estimating botanical composition in the field along with 
recommendations is forthcoming. 

Micromorpholoqical techniques can be used to describe and characterize 
orqanic soils and this micromorphological data can be used to compliment field 
observations and analytical data. During 1983 and 1984 the methodology for 
sampling and preparation of organic samples was refined, and a descriptive 
system for characterizing the micromorphology of organic soil was developed. 
The chemical and physical characteristics of forest humus overlying peat 
materials were examined. 

Concerns have been expressed by many individuals representing numerous 
agencies for the need to develop reference samples for organic soils to be 
used in the testing and analyses of these soils. Each year thousands of pieces 
of data are produced from which numerous papers are published with little or no 
documentation of quality control procedures, or reference samples used during 
analysis. Often the assumption is made that the data reflects the capability 
of the process rather than the lack of control over it. During 1984 six bulk 
organic samples representinq a cross-section of peat types and deqrees of 
decomposition were collected. A field description of the materials is given 
and the progress towards the development of the six reference samples is 
outlined. 

During the 1983 field season a workshop on field tests and field methods 
for organic soils was held. The participants evaluated six peat materials on 
the basis of von Post, rubbed fiber, pH and botanical composition. The 
objective was to assess the variability of the results of each test and 
provide a forum for discussion. The need for continual standardization of 
field tests and methods among agencies and persons collecting peatland data 
was demonstrated and acceptable limits of variability for some tests were 
suggested. 



IV 

RESUME* 

Les caracteristiques physiques et chimiques du materiel tourbeux dependent 
de la proportion et de l'origine de ses constituants botaniques. II est 
souhaitable d'ajouter la composition botanique au systeme de classification des 
sols organiques. L'origine botanique est sans doute le plus utilise des 
criteres de classification des sols organiques. Cependant, les classes de 
composition botanique sont difficiles a definir et mal acceptees. Dans ce 
domaine, seule 1 ' identification des grands groupes de vegetaux est possible. 
II est important que ces groupes puissent etre differencies sur le terrain de 
facon constante, fiable et aisee a l'aide d'une loupe. Ces groupes de vegetaux 
devraient done, idealement, etre bien definis, sans recoupement possible. Une 
evaluation de la composition botanique du materiel tourbeux de la cote de la 
Colombie-Britannique a ete realisee et un guide d'estimation de la composition 
botanique sur le terrain, accompagne de recommandations , sera prepare sous peu. 

II est possible d'utiliser des techniques micromorphologiques pour decrire 
et caracteriser les sols organiques; les donnees micromorphologiques peuvent 
completer les observations sur le terrain et les donnees analytiques. En 1983 
et 1984, on a perfectionne la methode d'echantillonnage et de preparation des 
echantillons organiques et on a elabore un systeme descriptif de 
caracterisation de la morphologie des sols organiques. On a aussi etudie les 
caracteristiques chimiques et physiques de l'humus forestier recouvrant le 
materiel tourbeux. 

Beaucoup de personnes representant de nombreux organismes ont parle du 
besoin de mettre au point des echantillons de reference a utiliser dans les 
essais et les analyses des sols organiques. Chaque annee, des milliers de 
donnees sont publiees dans de nombreux articles qui ne contiennent que peu de 
documentation - voire aucune - sur les methodes de controle de la qualite ou 
sur les echantillons de reference utilises au cours des analyses. Souvent, les 
donnees sont reputees refleter la capacite du processus utilise plutot que le 
manque de controle exerce sur ce dernier. Au cours de 1984, on a preleve six 
gros echantillons organiques representant une coupe transversale de differents 
types de tourbe ainsi que divers degres de decomposition. L'ouvrage contient 
une description du materiel faite sur le terrain et donne un apercu de la 
preparation des six echantillons de reference. 

Au cours de la saison 1983 a eu lieu un atelier sur les tests et les 
methodes utilises sur le terrain pour les sols organiques. Les participants 
ont evalue six materiels tourbeux d'apres la methode von Post, la methode des 
fibres frottees, le pH et la composition botanique. L 'atelier avait pour but 
d'evaluer la variabilite des resultats de chacun des tests et de fournir une 
occasion de discussion. Les participants ont demontre qu'il est necessaire de 
normaliser constamment les tests et les methodes utilises sur le terrain par 
les organismes et les personnes qui recueillent des donnees sur les tourbieres 
et ils ont suggere des limites de variabilite acceptables pour certains tests. 



- 1 - 



Thp Role of Botanical Composition 
in the Classification of Peat 

Corinne J. Selby 

Organic soil, or peat, represents an accumulation of 30% or more organic 
matter. Dependinq on the degree of decomposition and lithic contact organic 
matter must accumulate to a thickness of at least 40 - 60 cm in order to be 
classified as an organic soil (Canada Soil Survey Committee 1978). Conditions 
which favor the accumulation of slowly decomposing organic materials include 
blocked drainages, cold climate, constant high humidity (Dansereau and 
Segadas-Vianna 1952) and a shortage of the nutrients necessary for the 
organisms which bring about decomposition (Ogg 1939). Organic matter is 
derived from the successive growth of vegetation which accumulates as more or 
less disintegrated plant remains (Dachnowski 1920). The morphological 
properties of the peat are primarily a function of the botanical composition of 
the peat and the degree of alteration (decomposition) by microbial activities 
which is influenced by the nutritional state. The botanical composition of 
each peat strata also provides the key to the history of development of the 
peatland. Since each vegetaion unit occurs under a limited range of field 
conditions, if the plant cover that initiated the peat can be reconstructed 
from the plant remains the conditions at the time of deposition can be 
inferred. 

Three characters are commonly used as the basis for classifying peat: 
1) botanical composition, 2) decomposition, and 3) nutritional state (Kivinen 
1977 in Clymo 1983). Decomposition is generally divided into three levels: 
a) little decomposed (fibric), b) moderately decomposed (mesic), and c) highly 
decomposed (humic). Although the limits of each level may vary, these three 
categories are commonly used as the chief basis for grouping organic soils 
(Canadian Soil Survey Committee 1978; Farnham & Finney 1965; U.S.D.A. 
classification as presented by Clymo 1983). It has been stated that a method 
using only three stages of decomposition is "easier to define, is 
reproducible, is unusually simple, and is exceedingly well adapted to a wide 
variety of uses" (Farnham & Finney 1965). This is certainly the case for the 
three levels of decomposition presented although in some cases they are 
defined by the von Post scale of humification which has ten levels and the 
definitions of von Post can result in ambiguous classes. 

Three classes of nutritional status frequently referred to in the 
literature (oligtrophic, mesotrophic, and eutrophic ) are also used as a 
primary basis for classification (Kivinen 1977 in_ Clymo 1983; Gore 1983; Ogg 
1939; Farnham 1968; Ruuhijarvi 1983; and Botch & Masing 1983). Each class 
tends to be associated with a specific vegetation type but they are often used 
without any reference to the vegetation. 

Botanical origin is also used as the basis for organic soil classification 
although classes of botanical composition are not so easily defined or well 
accepted. A great variety of plant species and site conditions combine to 
result in the accumulation of an extremely complex peat material. With 
increased decomposition, identification of the botanical composition becomes 
more difficult. Variations in the rate of decomposition can further 
complicate the evaluation of botanical composition — wood, for example, 
decomposes very slowly whereas broad-leaves decompose relatively quickly 



- 2 - 



(Heal, et al. 1978). The complexity of the peat material is undoubtedly 
responsible for the variety of ways in which botanical composition has been 
incorporated into peat classifications. 

The significance of both the qenesis and sequence of peat materials to our 
understanding of the development and structure of orqanic deposits is evident 
in the numerous classifications which include botanical composition as a 
primary basis for qroupinq peat. Several classifications are briefly outlined 
below. 

Dachnowski (1920) emphasizes the history of the peat deposit in his 
approach to classification of peat in the U.S.. The qenesis and sequence of 
peat materials constitute the chief basis for qroupinq. The two primary 
divisions are water-laid and land-laid peat deposits. The latter is 
distinquished by the presence of roots in the mineral substratum as well as a 
botanical analysis of the peat materials themselves. No further classes are 
suqqested but Dachnowski (1920) recommends that microscopic evaluation of the 
plant remains in peat deposits (as done by von Post) should be undertaken in 
order to "correlate the sequence of peat materials with alternatinq wet and 
drv periods whilch accompanied chanqes in climatic conditions." 

The von Post scale of humification (in Clymo 1983) is widely used to 
estimate decomposition. The deqree of decomposition, however, represented 
only one of several criteria reqularly noted for each type of peat and used to 
describe the qualities of the deposits in Sweden (von Post 1937). Microscopic 
analysis was used to identify plant remains. Thirty kinds of peat were 
classified (e.g., Fuscum peat, Pine-moss peat, Magnocar ice turn peat, etc.). 
Numerical scales for deqree of humification, humidity, cotton qrass fibres, 
rootlets and wood debris are used as modifiers. 

Auer (1930) classified organic materials in the peat bogs of Canada 
according to origin and botanical composition. His eight classes are: 
(1) inorganic ooze, (2) organic ooze (limnetic), (3) limy ooze (limnetic), 
(4) jelly like ooze (limnetic), (5) Carex peat, (6) Amblystegium peat 
(telmatic), (7) Sphagnum peat, and (8) grass-herb-forest peat (terrestrial). 

A classification system for commercial peat used in soil improvement and 
horticulture in the USA is presented by Farnham (1968). Generic origin and 
fibre content are used to calssify five major types of peat as: (1) Sphagnum 
moss peat (peat moss), (2) Hypnum moss peat, (3) reed-sedge peat, (4) peat 
humus, and (5) other peat. Non-commercial peats are not considered. 

Kivinen (1977 in_ Clymo 1983) presents a commercial classification of 
Finnish peats in (Clymo 1983) in which botanical composition is a primary 
grouping key. Four peat types are distinguished: 1) moss peat (>75% moss, 
<10% wood), 2) herbaceous peat (>75% herbaceous plants, <10% wood), 3) wood 
peat (>35% wood), and 4) mixed peat (any other type). 

Heinselman (963) adapted the terminology of Farnham (1956) and, with the 
addition of class 7, used the following classification to describe peat 
profiles in Minnesota: 1) aggregated or granular peat (muck), 2) amorphous 
(colloidal) peat, 3) herbaceous (fibrous) peat, 4) moss peat, 5) sedimentary 
(aquatic) peat, 6) woody peat, and 7) mixed moss-herbaceous peat. Peat 
profile descriptions were then qrouped into four broad peat stratiqraphy 



- 3 - 

classes based primarily on the dominant botanical composition in the profile. 
The stratigraphy classes recognized are: 1) Sphagnum peats, 2) Forest peats, 
3) Non-forest sedge peats, and 4) Aguatic peats. These generalized classes 
were used to reconstruct the history of each peatland studied. 

Botanical composition serves as the basis for peat identification in the 
USSR as well (Botch & Masing 1983). It is considered one of the main features 
determining nearly all properties of peat. However, it is used only at the 
sub-class and type levels of the classification — nutritional status is the 
basis for the primary division. Using botanical composition, 39 original peat 
tvpes (the basic unit of the classification) were recognized (Appendix 1). 
Sub-classes are based on the amount of wood in the deposit. A comparable 
classification has been developed for peat deposits using the thickness of 
each laver and the seguence of peat types in the deposit (Tyumremnov 1976 in 
Botch & Masing 1983). 

In the Canadian Soil Taxonomy (CSS Committee, 1978) botanical composition 
is used only to distinguish one of the four great groups identified for the 
organic order. Forest leaf litter which is only briefly saturated has been 
separated from all other organic material which includes mosses, sedges, and 
other aguatic plants commonly saturated with water. However, the other three 
great groups are defined on the basis of the degree of decomposition with no 
mention of botanical composition, even at lower levels of the classification. 

Eight peat types were defined for some Fraser Delta deposits in British 
Columbia (Styan 1981). The classes defined are: 1) Sedge-Clay, 2) Gyttja, 3) 
Sedge-Grass, 4) Sedge-Wood, 5) Sedge -Sphagnum , 6) Nuphar , 7) Sphagnum and 
8) Ericaceous- Sphagnum . Detailed microscopic analysis was used to identify 
plant remains. 

In a recent study of coastal peatlands, Moon (unpublished) recognized 
three organic layer classes based on field estimates of botanical 
composition: (1) Sediments, (2) sphagnum and (3) unidentifiable which 
includes varying combinations of sedges, rushes, or reeds, and sphagnum. Each 
class is subdivided on decomposition level. Organic deposit classes are based 
on the dominant layer classes with a greater emphasis on decomposition. 

It is apparent from these brief descriptions of peat classifications 
developed around the world that the incorporation of botanical composition is 
not a straight forward process. The variety of plant materials from which 
peat is comprised is partially responsible for the problems encountered. It 
is difficult to determine what basis to use for grouping plant material - 
e.g., mode of deposition (aguatic vs terrestrial); nutritional status (acidic 
vs rich in nutrients - especially N); morphology (wood, moss, herb, mixed), 
etc. Each of these, along with various combinations have been used to 
classify peat material. 

A problem which is fundamental to any use of botanical composition in the 
classification of peat is that of identification of plant remains. Detailed 
microscopic analysis is the most reliable means of identification and is 
assumed in most classifications but this has several inherent limitations. It 
cannot be done in the field and therefore extensive sampling is reguired. 
Relatively few people have the training reguired to identify microscopic plant 
remains so that it can be both time consuming and costly to get botanical 



- 4 - 



composition values for numerous samples. This necessarily implies that it is 
difficult to apply in a routine inventory. Furthermore, although it is 
possible to identify some pollen grains, seeds, and leaves to the generic or 
even the species level, it is extremely difficult to distinguish many species 
unless the appropriate floral and veqetative parts are present. Since this is 
qenerally not the case, even detailed microscopic analysis may not provide 
reliable estimates of botanical composition. 

Even if it was possible to obtain consistent microscopic evaluations of 
botanical composition, the question remains of how well they reflect the 
veqetaion from which the peat forms and how reliable they are. Variations in 
the rates of decomposition mean that more resistant plant materials will be 
identifiable and recorded while readily decomposed plants are totally 
iqnored. Unfortunately, identifiable remains are generally presumed to be the 
source of peat no matter what proportion they actually represent (something 
that cannot always be determined). Although decay resistant materials often 
do contribute to the peat composition, even this is not necessarily the case. 
wind carried pollen can be deposited in peatlands from adjacent upland or 
marqinal plants which do not actually qrow on the developing peat material. 
Pollen is quite resistant to decomposition and may inadvertantly be included 
in the record of botanical composition for a peat layer. This can lead to an 
inaccurate picture of peat development. 

Identification of botanical composition in the field must be based on 
gross morphological characteristics. A study to evaluate botanical 
composition was undertaken in conjunction with research to characterize and 
classify the peatlands of coastal B.C. (Tarnocai 1982; Moon 1982, and Selby 
and Moon 1982). Field estimates of percent Sphagnum , sedge, moss, brown moss, 
wood, sedimentary peat, amorphous, seeds, charcoal and other were recorded by 
Tarnocai (personal communication 1982). Percent Sphagnum moss, brown moss, 
feather moss, forest litter, wood, sedqes, roots, unidentifiable fiber, 
sedimentary orqanic materials, and amorphous orqanic materials was recorded in 
the field bv Moon (1982) for each distinct layer in the peat profile. (Moon 
(personal communication) expressed a lack of confidence in the distinction 
between mosses in any but fibric materials and also found that unidentifiable 
fibre predominated in mesic materials). A small sample (2 cm^) from each 
peat layers was collected for observation under a dissectinq microscope. Lab 
estimates of botanical composition will be based on a maximum maqnif ication of 
forty times. More detailed evaluation is considered inappropriate because the 
objective of the study is to determine suitable botanical qroupings for field 
estimation. It is desirable that the number of botanical groupings be few 
enough to be adequately defined, mutually exclusive and reliably distinquished 
in the field, with the aid of a hand lens. 

Preliminary indications are that only broad plant qroupinqs can be 
reliably distinquished. The most consistent estimates of composition are for 
relatively undecomposed (fibric) peat where larqe fraqements of plant material 
are observed. With increasinq decomposition the distinction between plant 
materials becomes tenuous. Remaininq identifiable plant fraqments are few, of 
relatively small size and may in fact represent only a minor portion of the 
veqetation from which the peat formed. It is apparent that detailed estimates 
of botanical composition must be used with extreme caution. An evaluation of 
the botanical composition of coastal British Columbia peat should be completed 
early in 1985. Recommendations and a quide for estimatinq botanical 
composition in the field will be presented at that time. 



- 5 - 



The incorporation of botanical composition into a classification of 
organic soils may present some problems in evaluation, however, the 
information gained from a knowledge of the botanical origins of peat far 
outweigh the difficulties in its application. Peat morphology, nutritional 
status, and, to a certain extent, degree of decomposition are a function of 
the botanical composition. It is no wonder that "botanical origin is perhaps 
the most widely used criterion in organic soil classification" (Farnham & 
Finney 1965). A major concern must be how reliably botanical composition is 
determined and how well estimates of composition can be interpreted to infer 
conditions at the time of deposition. The challenge is to integrate botanical 
composition into a classification of organic soils in such a way that it can 
be easily, consistently, and reliably evaluated in the field. 



- 6 - 



REFERENCES 



Auer, V. 1930. Peat boqs in Southeastern Canada. Memoir 162. Geological 
Survey, Canada Dept. of Mines, Ottawa, Canada. 

Botch, M.S. and V.V. Masing. 1983. Mire Ecosystems in the U.S.S.R. in_ 

Ecosystems of the World 4B. Mires: swamp, bog, fen and moor. General 
studies. Edited by Goodall, D.W. and A. J. P. Gore. Elsevier Sci. Pub. Co. 
N.Y. 1983. 479 pp. 

Canada Soil Survey Committee. 1978. The Canadian System of Soil Classi- 
fication. Research Branch, CAnada Dept. of Agriculture, Publication 
1646. 164 pp. 

Clymo, R.S. 1983. Peat (Ch. 4) in_ Ecosystems of the World 4A. Mires: swamp, 
bog, fen and moor. General studies. Edited by Goodall, D.W. and A. J. P. 
Gore. Elsevier Sci. Pub. Co. N.Y. 1983. 440 pp. 

Dachnowski, A. P. 1920. Peat deposits of the United States and their 
classification. Soil Sci. 10:453-465. 

Dansereau, P. and F. Segadas-Vianna. 1952. Ecological Study of the peat 
bogs of Eastern North America. Can. Jour. Botany 30:490-520. 

Farnham, R.S. and Finney, H.R. 1965. Classification and properties of 
organic soils. Adv. Agron. 17:115-162. 

Farnham, R.S. 1968. Classification System for Commercial Peat. Proceedings 
of the Thrid International Peat Congress. Quebec, Canada. Dept. of 
Energv, Mines and Resources, Ottawa, Canada and National Research Council 
of Canada. 

Gore, A. J. P. 1983. Introduction _in_ Ecosystems of the World 4A. Mires: 

swamp, bog, fen and moor. General studies. EDited by Goodall, D.W. and 
A. J. P. Gore. Elsevier Sci. Publ. Co. N.Y. 1983. 440 pp. 

Heal, O.W. , P.M. Latter and G. Howson. 1978. "A study of the rates of 
decomposition of organic matter" jm Heal, O.W. and Perkins, D.F. 
(Editors). 1978. Production Ecology in British moors and montane 
grasslands. International Bioloqical Programme. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 
426 pp. 

Heinselman, M.L. 1963. Forest sites, bog processes, and peatland types 
in the Glacial Lake Agassiz Region, Minnesota. Ecol. Monographs 
33(4):327-374. 

Kivinen, E. 1977. in. Clymo, R.S. 1983. Peat (Ch.4) in Ecosystems of the 
World 4A. Mires: swamp, bog, fen and moor. General studies. Edited by 
Goodall, D.W. and A. J. P. Gore. Elsevier Sci. Pub. Co. N.Y. 1983. 

Moon, D.E. 1982. Peatland soils and soil systems of coastal British 

Columbia in^ Report of activities on peatland research. LRRI contribution 
No. 83-02. Land Resource Research Institute, Agriculture Canada. 71 pp. 



- 7 - 



Ogg, W.G. 1939. Peat. Chemistry and Industry 58:375-379. 

Ruuhijarvi, R. 1983. Mires of Sweden in_ Ecosystems of the World 4B. Mires: 
swamp, bog, fen and moor. General studies. Edited by Goodall, D.W. and 
A. J. P. Gore. Elsevier Sci. Pub. Co. N.Y. 1983. 479 pp. 

Selby, C.J. and D.E. Moon. 1982. Soil and Vegetation Relationships of 

Pacific coastal peatlands _in_ Report of activities on peatland research. 
LRRI contribution No. 83-02. Land Resource Research Institute, 
Agriculture Canada. 71 pp. 

Styan, W.B. 1981. The sedimentalogy, petrography and geochemistry of some 
Fraser delta peat deposits. M. Sc. Thesis in Department of Geology, 
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada. 

Tarnocai, C. 1982. Peatlands of the Pacific Coast of British Columbia in 
Report of activities on peatland research. LRRI contribution No. 83-02. 
Land Resource Research Institute, Agriculture Canada. 71 pp. 

Tyumremnov, S.N. 1976. _in_ Botch, M.S. and V.V. Masing. 1983. Mire Ecosystems 
in the U.S.S.R. in Ecosystems of the World 4B. Mires: swamp, bog, fen 
and moor. General studies. Edited by Goodall, D.W. and A. J. P. Gore. 
Elsevier Sci. Pub. Co. N.Y. 1983. 479 pp. 

von Post, L. 1937. The geographical survey of Irish bogs. Irish Naturalists' 
Journal 6:210-227. 



- 8 - 



Appendix 1 



Peat Classification Used in the U.S.S.R. 
as presented by Tyumremnov 1976 in_ Botch and Masing 1983 



EUTROPHIC PEAT CLASS 



Wood peat group 

alder peat 

birch peat 

spruce peat 

pine peat 

willow peat 
Wood-graminoid peat group 

wood-sedge peat 

wood-reed peat 
Wood-moss peat group 

wood-Bryales peat 

wood -Sphagnum peat 
Graminoid peat group 

horsetail peat 

reed peat 

sedge-reed peat 

Menyanthes peat 

sedge peat 

Scheuchzeria peat 
Graminoid-moss peat group 

sedge-Bryales peat 

sedge- Sphagnum peat 
Moss peat group 

Bryales peat 

eutrophic Sphagnum peat 

MESOTROPHIC PEAT CLASS 

Wood peat group 

mesotrophic wood peat 

Wood-graminoid peat group 

mesotrophic wood-sedge peat 

Wood-moss peat group 

mesotrophic wood -Sphagnum peat 

Graminoid peat group 

mesotrophic sedge peat 
cotton-grass-sedge peat 
mesotrophic Scheuchzeria peat 

Graminoid-moss peat group 

mesotrophic sedge- Sphagnum peat 

Moss peat group 

mesotrophic Bryales peat 
mesotrophic Sphagnum peat 



- 9 - 



OLIGOTROPHIC PEAT CLASS 

Wood peat qroup 

oliqotrophic pine peat 
Wood-graminoid peat qroup 

pine-cotton-qrass peat 
Wood-moss peat qroup 

pine -Sphagnum peat 
Graminoid peat qroup 

cotton-qrass peat 

Scheuchzeria peat 
Graminoid-moss peat qroup 

cotton-grass- Sphagnum peat 

Scheuchzeria-Sphagnum peat 
Moss peat group 

Sphagnum fuscum peat 

Sphagnum magellanicum peat 

complex peat 

hollow peat 



- 10 - 



Research Activities Applying Micromorphological Techniques 
To Characterizing Organic Soil Materials 

Catherine A. Fox 



ABSTRACT 

Micromorphological techniques facilitate the description of the fabric of 
soil materials. For organic soils, the arrangement of the fragments and the 
associated voids can be described and characterized. The morphological data 
can be used to complement information obtained from field observations and 
analytical inventory data. 

During 1983 and 1984, sampling of peat materials and forest humus for 
micromorphological analyses was undertaken. The methodology for sampling and 
preparation of organic samples was refined and a descriptive system for 
characterizing the micromorphology of organic soils was developed. 

The chemical and physical characteristics of forest humus overlying peat 
materials were examined. Micromorphological characterization of peat 
materials and forest humus will continue in 1985. 



INTRODUCTION 

Field examination of peat materials with the Canadian Wetland Registry 
system of description (Tarnocai, 1980) provides information, such as estimates 
of botanical composition, decomposition (von Post and rubbed fiber estimates) 
and structure, on the macromorphology of the peat materials. Field observat- 
ions of the macromorphology of peat materials are restricted by the scale at 
which observations can be made (<10x magnification with a hand lens). This 
initial level of description often provides little information on the arrange- 
ment and characteristics of the individual organic fragments composing the peat 
material. The stereomicroscope and the light microscope facilitate observat- 
ions at magnifications ranging from low (<25x) to high (<125x), thus providing 
a means to obtain additional data about the arrangement and structure of the 
organic particles. 

This report will outline the ongoing and planned activities for character- 
izing the micromorphology of organic materials. The main emphasis of this 
research will be on describing the fabric at low magnifications in order to 
maintain continuity of description between field observations of the macro- 
morphology and the micromorphology. 



Field Sampling: 

Undisturbed samples which are representative of the horizons and profile 
being described are required for micromorphological examination. For peat 
materials, a Macaulay peat auger is used to retrieve a relatively undisturbed 
peat core from the surface of the peat to the underlying mineral material 
(Eagle, 1983). This core of peat material is subsampled for micro- 
morphological examination according to the following methodology: Half 



- 11 - 



cylinders of plastic PVC tubing (diameter 3.75 cm and length 15 cm) were 
prepared for use with the Macaulay augers (diameters 3.6, 4.5, 5.0 cm). Larger 
or smaller lengths of PVC tubing could also be used but the 15 cm length 
provided sufficient sample for thin section preparation (microscope slides 2 cm 
x 3 cm) and was an appropriate size for field transportation as well as 
shipping. The plastic tube was labelled to indicate sample number, depth, 
layer or horizon, and orientation; placed in a plastic bag to prevent moisture 
loss; covered with a 0.5 cm thick plywood lid, tightly wrapped with masking 
tape, and, labelled once more with sample number, layer and horizon, and 
depth . 



Laboratory Preparation: 

An essential part of preparation of organic materials for the production 
of thin sections is the removal of water from the sample prior to impregnation 
with polyester resins or epoxides which are immiscible with water. The water 
is exchanged with an organic solvent such as acetone either by capillary 
exchange or by vapour exchange (Sheldrick, 1984). Removal of the water from 
the sample by air drying usually results in severe shrinkage, which causes the 
destruction of the morphology of the organic material as it existed in the 
field. Once the samples have been impregnated, thin sections are prepared by 
cutting the impregnated sample, mounting on microscope slides (i.e. 2 x 3 cm) 
and grinding to 30ym thickness. The methodology is outlined in Sheldrick 
(1984). 



Descriptive System for Characterizing the Micromorphology : 

A descriptive system was developed for characterizing the micromorphology 
of organic materials in thin sections (Fox, 1984). Available descriptive 
systems were limited with regard to describing the variability of fabrics 
observed at changing magnifications. 

Distinct regions of morphology (fabric zones) that are composed of a 
particular arrangement and combination of organic components can be delineated 
in each thin section. Four main types of components referred to as basic 
morphologic units were recognized and a code letter assigned as follows: 
particulate materials, P; granular units, G; discrete compound particles, C; 
and massive-appearing fabric, M. The four main types of basic morphologic 
units can be further distinguished with a lower case letter to identify the 
composition as follows: p, plant fragments; a, amorphous (unrecognizable) 
organic materials; m, mineral material, and g, granular material. Each 
recognized fabric zone is recorded by writing the observed components in order 
of decreasing dominance. For example, [PpGaMg] describes a zone of morphology 
with three components, recognizable plant fragments, Pp; amorphous granular 
units, Ga; and massive-appearing fabric resulting from a dense packing of 
granular units, Mg. The symbol designating the zone of morphology is referred 
to as a fabric unit. The fabric units are written in order of decreasing 
occurrence (areal proportion of the fabric zone in the thin section). This 
written format is referred to as a fabric description symbol. For example, 
[GaMa] [Cap], indicates that in the thin section there were two fabric zones 
observed: the first and dominant fabric zone designated by the fabric unit 
[GaMa] consists of amorphous granular units, Ga, together with dense amorphous 



- 12 - 



material, Ma; the second fabric unit [Cap] describes a region of morphology 
consisting entirely of discrete compound particles composed of both amorphous 
material and plant fragments. 

Additional detail can be added to the fabric description symbol with 
indices and symbols to indicate the following: 

1 ) Quantitative measurements of the areal proportions of the fabric zones and 
the individual basic morphologic units: 

2) Boundary relationships between adjacent fabric zones, and 

3) Specific data about the features or characteristics of a particular fabric 
zone or basic morphologic unit. 

Because codes and symbols are used to represent the components and fabric 
zones, the fabric description symbols provide the means to record at any 
maqnif ication the observed morphology so that comparisons can be facilitated 
between fabric zones, thin sections, layers or horizons and pedons. In 
addition, a data base can be established so that comparisons and 
interpretations can be made between organic soils from widely varying 
environments. 



Forest Humus Overlying Peat Materials: 

Tarnocai (1983) noted that peat deposits occurred under upland forest 
materials and that such landscape relationships required further 
investigation. Samples were taken along a transect (Fig. 1) that included a 
site with forest humus overlyinq peat materials. Table 1 presents some of the 
chemical and physical analyses of the forest humus (sampling site 1 ) and the 
peat material (sampling site 3). The forest humus (Hr) tends to have a lower 
pH value than the peat materials, high unrubbed fiber and rubbed fiber, lower 
pyrophosphate solubility index and slightly higher exchangeable Ca and Mg. 
The location of the forest humus tends to be on the higher points in the 
landscape in relation to the peat materials (Fig. 1). This higher elevation 
suggests that improved drainage exists at the surface providing aerobic 
conditions for the growth of trees. The acid soil environment may contribute 
to the maintenance of the accumulation of forest materials over the peat 
materials. Radiocarbon dating indicated that the forest humus has been 
present at this site (Fiq. 1) for approximately 980 years. 

To better understand the nature of the forest humus, detailed description 
and samplinq were undertaken on forest humus materials at selected areas. 
Table 2 presents a profile description of a site near Prince Rupert, British 
Columbia where thick accumulations of forest humus overlay peat materials 
(Fiq. 2). The chemical and physical characteristics are presented in Table 
3. The forest humus in comparison to the peat material tends to have sliqhtly 
lower values of percent carbon, lower pyrophosphate solubility index, and 
increased amounts of exchanqeable Ca and Mq especially in the surface 20 cm 
where veaetative root qrowth is abundant. Radiocarbon datinq indicated that 
the accumulation of forest humus began approximately 1930 ± 350 B.P. and the 
peat materials 8570 i 100 B.P. Samples for micromorphological examination 
will be prepared in 1985. 



- 13 - 



Forest Humus 




980±70BP 



9950±140BP 



7110±110BP 



20 40 60 80 100 120 140 



160 180 
Meters 



200 220 240 260 280 300 320 340 



FIGURE 1 : Cross-section of a slope bog on Finlayson Island (54°34'5" Lat., 130°28'45" Long.) showing 
peat materials and radio carbon dates. 



- 14 - 



cm 




100 



120 



130 



140 



150 



160- 



FIGURE 2: Diagrammatic sketch of organic soil with forest humus overlying 
peat materials near Prince Rupert (54°14'5"Lat., 130°4'5"l_ong.). 



- 15 - 



Activities Planned for 1985 

Activities for 1985 will include the preparation of 170 samples obtained 
from various peatlands in British Columbia and Ontario as well as samples of 
forest humus overlyinq peat materials. The thin sections will be used as 
follows: 

1 ) to assess the variability in composition and arrangement of the organic 
particles between different kinds of peat materials and forest humus 

2) to compare the morphology of peat materials from different environments, 

3) to complement morphological descriptions obtained from field inventory 
surveys, and 

4) to examine the fabric of the organic materials at low magnifications and 
determine if specific characteristics are suitable for classification of 
the different peat materials. 



- 16 - 



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- 17 - 

Table 2: Profile Description of an Orqanic Soil with Forest Humus overlyinq 
peat materials. (Site Location: Prince Rupert Area: 54° 14' 5"N 
Lat. 130° 4' 5"W Long.) 



irizon 


Depth 




(cm) 


F q 


0-3 



Description 

Dark reddish brown (5YR 2.5/2) wet; loose fibrous 
forest humus, weak non-compact matted; common very fine 
to medium horizontal roots; common randomly distributed 
fungi; qradual smooth boundary; acid (4.5). 

Hr1 3-20 Very dusky red (2.5YR 2.5/2) wet; forest humus; weak 

non-compact matted to fine granular; friable; abundant 
very fine to coarse horizontal roots; gradual wavy 
boundary; acid (3.0). 

Hr2 20-52 Very dusky red (2.5YR 2.5/2) wet; forest humus, moderate 

blocky; firm, greasy; plentiful fine to coarse 
horizontal roots; common medium to coarse fragments of 
decaying wood; acid (2.8). 

0h1 52-82 Black ( 5YR 2.5/1) wet; sedimentary - amorphous peat, 

very soft, massive; greasy; gradual wavy boundary; acid 
(2.8). 

Oco 82-99 Dark reddish brown (5YR 3/3); sedge-sedimentary peat; 

hard massive; greasy; few rootlets; gradual, wavy 
boundary; acid (3.0). 

0h2 99-151 Dark reddish brown (5YR 3/2); sedimentary moss-sedge 

peat; massive; non-sticky; very few rootlets; clear to 
abrupt boundary; acid (3.5). 

R 151 + 



- 18 - 






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- 19 - 



REFERENCES 

Eaqle, A. 1983. Peatlands of the Ontario St. Lawrence Lowlands. p. 38-50. 

In Report of Activities on Peatland Research 1982. Land Resource Research 
Institute, Agriculture Canada. LRRI Contribution No. 83-02. 71 p. 

Fox, C.A. 1984. A morphometric system for describing the micromorphology of 
organic soils and organic layers. Can. J. Soil Sci. 64: 495-503. 

Sheldrick, B.H. (ed. ) 1984. Analytical Methods Manual 1984. Land Resource 
Research Institute, Agriculture Canada. LRRI Contribution No. 84-30. 

Tarnocai , C. 1980. Canadian Wetland Registry. In C.A. Rubec and F.C. Pollet 
(ed.). Proceedings of a Workshop on Canadian Wetlands. (Saskatoon, 1979) 
Environment Canada, Lands Directorate, Ecological Land Classification 
Series No. 12. 

Tarnocai, C. 1983. Peatlands of the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. 

p 2-15. In Report of Activities on Peatland Research 1982. Land Resource 
Research Institute, Agriculture Canada. LRRI Contribution 
No. 83-02. 71 p. 



- 20 - 

Quality Control and the Development of Six Orqanic Soil Reference Samples 

A.E. Eaqle 

INTRODUCTION 

Concerns have been expressed by many agencies across Canada for the need to 
develop reference samples for use in the analysis of orqanic soils and to 
beqin a process of standardizinq the methods of analyses. Each year dozens of 
papers are published with little or no documentation on analytical procedures 
used and on reference materials or other quality control procedures employed. 
This makes comparisons between paper difficult and often of little con- 
sequence. The objectives of this paper are to first emphasize the need for 
laboratory quality control in terms of precision, accuracy and bias; second to 
provide a brief history of the use of standard samples in soil survey laborat- 
ory analyses; and third to detail the collection and development of six 
orqanic soil standards. 

Laboratory Quality Control: 

Each year thousands "of pieces of data are produced from soil survey 
laboratories, from which numerous papers are published. Rarely documented are 
the analytical procedures and reference materials used, or the quality control 
procedures used to ensure the quality of the data within test runs, between 
test runs, over time and between different operators. 

The assumption is often made that the data reflects the capability of the pro- 
cess rather than lack of control over it. Control is required over both the 
range of variation of individuals values (precision), and the variation or 
drift of averaqes (accuracy). 

Precision is the repeatability of a process or procedure and the reproduc- 
ibility of the result. As lonq as the conditions of measurement are unchanqed 
and the process has demonstrated to be rugged (relatively unaffected by small 
changes in procedure), one should expect, more-or-less, the same result every 
time the process is repeated assuming on average that small random effects on 
the result will tend to cancel out. However, even if precision can be main- 
tained it does not ensure there is control. Prerequisites for precision are 
well-defined procedures and properly trained staff. 

Accuracy is a measure of the deviation of an averaqe from an expected value. 
Accuracy is relative, and to become accurate and remain accurate requires 
acceptable limits to be set and accessed on a continual basis. Repeated 
measurement will increase confidence in the averaqe value obtained but, has no 
effect on the truth or accuracy of the averaqe. It may in fact only verify 
any bias which may be present. 

Bias is the variation of an averaqe, either between operators, between 
systems/methods, or over time relative to an expected value. Bias is usually 
introduced throuqh operator error (Kinq 1976). For example, two different 
operators may both be precise and accurate but have different bias causinq 
values to deviate from an expected value in different directions. 

If resources are tight, precision control is less crucial. It is already 
limited by the analytical process and the technical proficiency of the staff. 
Accuracy, however, requires the implementation of active control procedures 
because of the nature of the human decision-makinq process. 



- 21 - 



Accuracy can be achieved using well-defined calibration and standardization 
procedures. Standardization by the use of properly prepared, traceable stand- 
ards, and by the control charting of values over time. Precision, bais, and 
accuracy can only be assessed in terns of, past experience, continuing con- 
trol, and a definition of what is considered acceptable. 

Quality Control in Soil Laboratories: 

In 1973, the Canada Soil Survey Committee (CSSC) approved the recommendation 
of the Subcommittee on Benchmark Soils that reference soil samples be collect- 
ed for use in comparing analytical data among laboratories (Day and Lajoie, 
eds 1973). 

Samples were collected representing both the vast geographic range and the 
wide variations of soils that occur in Canada. Analysts were encouraged to 
use the CSSC reference samples as in-run checks in their respective labora- 
tories, and were requested to send the data for the CSSC samples for compil- 
ation. 'Best values' were compiled and analysts were informed particularly 
when results were markedly different from those obtained by most other 
analysts. 

In 1981 the Expert Committee on Soil Survey (ECSS) set up a Quality Control 
and Methods of Analyses working group whose objectives are to investigate ways 
of improving quality control procedures and the uniformity of laboratory 
data. Some of the proposals presented are summarized as follows (Haluschak 
1982): 

1 ) To update and compile a list of laboratories that should be involved 
in standard sample analyses. A brief outline of methods used in 
laboratories would also be compiled. 

2) To collect and distribute additional standard samples and to use a 
standard sample as a check with every batch analyses. To periodic- 
ally distribute unknown samples for analyses. 

3) To compile error values for methods of analyses. 

4) To review and standardize methods which are presently used, but are 
not included in the methods manual. 

Between 1982 and now there has been some discussions concerning quality 
control, however, implementation of control measures has not been a priority 
item. What is required is that the concern for data quality become a 
"priority" on the agenda of soil survey unit heads and laboratory 
supervisors. Although, quality control procedures are time consuming to 
implememnt and difficult to police the need to maintain credibility through 
the production of good quality data far outweigh the cost. 

Organic Soil Standards: 

The supply of the two CSSC orqanic soil reference samples (CSSC 13 - Typic 
Fibrisol, CSSC 14 - Typic Mesisol) have long been depleted. Without the use 
of standard reference samples (wi thin-batch and between-batch analyses) there 
is no means available to access data quality, or to compare data between 
laboratories. With this in mind a program was initiated toward developing 
reference samples for use in the analysis of orqanic soils. 



- 22 - 



Materials and Methods: 

During 1984 six bulk organic samples were collected each weighing 
Napproximately 150 Kg (wet).O These samples represent a wide cross-section of 
peat tvpes and degrees of decomposition. Four samples were collected in 
Ontario, one in Quebec, and one in British Columbia. Field description of the 
samples and of the profiles from which they were taken is given in Appendix I 
tables 1 to 6. 

Subsamples of each have been kept moist (field state) for fiber determination 
while the remainder was air-dried and ground to pass a 2 mm sieve. The 
samples are stored at the Land Resource Research Institute in Ottawa. 
Subsamples will be sent to analysts wishing to cooperate in the comparison of 
data and use the reference samples as checks with batch analyses of organic 
soils. 

Ten replicates of each sample have been submitted to the Land Resource 
Research Laboratory in Ottawa for analyses. Values for the following 
properties are to be determined: 

pH H20 
pH CaClo 
% Carbon 
% Nitrogen 

Exchangeable Cation (2N NaCl) Ca, Mg, K, Al 
Total Cation Exchange Ba (OAc)p 
Rubbed Fiber 
Unrubbed Fiber 
% Ash 

Pyrosphosphate Index 
Calorific Value 
Sulphur 

Atomic Absorption (minor elements) Co, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, Zn 

Al, Ca, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Na 

The analytical methods are those which are presently used in the Land 
Resource Research Institutes analytical service laboratory in Ottawa, and 
are outlined in the Analytical methods manual 1984., Land Resource Research 
Institute, B.H. Sheldrick, editor. 

As the data becomes available it will be compiled from which tentative "best 
values" will be generated and distributed. Bulk samples will be supplied upon 
request. 

It is important to realize that summary statistics can be calculated for any 
available data set. For example, the suitability of the standard deviation 
for predicting the likely range of deviation from an average requires that the 
results were determined under identical conditions and that the distribution 
of the results is approximately "normal". In other words, there must be 
control of quality. There is a need for continual in-laboratory and between 
laboratory quality control measures. 



- 23 - 



References 

Day, J.G. and Lajoie, P.G. (eds.). 1973. Proceedings 9th Meeting of the 
Canada Soil Survey Committee. Saskatoon. 

Haluschak, P. 1982. "Report on quality control and Methods of Analyses in 

Soil Laboratories". Expert Committee on Soil Survey. Proceedings of the 
Fourth Annual Meeting. Victoria, British Columboia. pp. 116. 

King, D.E. 1976. Quality Control and Data Evaluation Proceedures - Section 1 
Analytical Reproducibility. Ontario Ministry of the Environment. 
Laboratory Services Branch, Data Qaulity Report Series, Toronto, 
Ontario. 

King, D.E. 1984. Principles of Control Charting. Ontario Ministry of the 
Environment. Laboratory Services and Applied Research Branch, Data 
Quality Report Series. Toronto, Ontario. 

McKeague, J. A. Sheldrick, B.H. and Desjardins, J.G. 1978. Compilation of 

Data for CSSC Reference Soil Samples. Soil Research Institute, Research 
Branch, Agriculture Canada. Ottawa, Ontario. 

Sheldrick, B.H. 1984. Analytical Methods Manual. Land Resource Research 
Institute, Agriculture Canada. Ottawa, Ontario. 



- 24 - 



Appendix I 



Table 1 : Field Description of Typic Mesisol - Reference Sample No. 1 



Location: 31G/06 45° 24' 24" Latitude (N) 75° 27' 53" Longitude (W) 
Classification: Typic Mesisol 

Reference Sample No: Mesic peat material collected from 50-150 cm below the 
peat surface. 



Horizon Depth (cm) 

0m1 0-23 Dark reddish brown (5YR 3.0/2.0 m); moss-amorphous peat 

material; von Post 6; rubbed fiber 10%; pH 4.4; strongly 
granular; clear smooth boundary. 

0m2 23-50 Dark brown (7.5YR 3.0/2.0 m); amorphous-sedge peat 

material; von Post 5; rubbed fiber 20%; pH 4.7; 
moderately layered; gradual smooth boundary. 

0m3 50-220 Dark reddish brown (5YR 2.5/2.0 m); sedge-amorphous peat 

material; von Post 6; rubbed fiber 10%; pH 5.3; weakly 
fibered; abrupt smooth boundary. 

2Cg 220+ Greenish arey (5BG 5.0/1.0 m) ; silty clay; pH 7.1. 



- 25 - 



Table 2: Field Description of Typic Mesisol - Reference Sample No. 2 



Location: 31F/01 45° 14' 15" Latitude (N) 76° 3' 38" Longitude (W) 
Classification: Typic Mesisol 

Reference Sample No. 2: Mesic peat material collected from 50 cm - 100 cm 
below the peat surface. 



Horizon Depth (cm) 

0m1 0-35 Very dark gray (10YR 3.0/1.0 m); amorphous peat 

material; von Post 5; rubbed fiber 15%; pH 6.5; 
moderately granular; gradual smooth boundary. 

Om2 35-325 Very dark grayish brown ( 1 0YR 3.0/2.0 m); sedge peat 

material; von Post 4; rubbed fiber 35%; pH 6.7; strongly 
fibered; gradual smooth boundary. 

Om3 325-430 Very dark grayish brown ( 1 0YR 3.0/2.0 m) ; 

amorphous-sedge peat material; von Post 4; rubbed fiber 
35%; pH 6.6; moderately fibered gradual smooth boundary. 

Om4 430-545 Very dark grayish brown ( 1 0YR 3.0/2.0 m); sedge peat 

material; von Post 5; rubbed fiber 35%; pH 6.9; 
moderately fibered; clear smooth boundary. 

Om5 545-640 Very dark gray (10YR 3.0/1.0 m); wood-amporphous peat 

material; von Post 6; rubbed fiber 15%; pH 6.7; 
moderately fibered; clear smooth boundary. 

2Cg 600+ Dark Greenish gray (5.0 GY 4.5/1.0 m); sand; pH 6.9. 



- 26 - 



Table 3: Field Description of Typic Fibrisol - Reference Sample No. 3 



Location: 31G/05 45° 27 • 15" Latitude (N) 75° 55' 19" Longitude (W) 
Classification: Typic Fibrisol 

Reference Sample No. 3: Fibric peat material collected from 30-100 cm below 
the peat surface. 



Horizon Depth (cm) 

0f1 0-30 Dark brown (7.5 YR 3.0/2.0 m) ; moss-sphagnum peat 

material; von Post 3; rubbed fiber 80%; pH 4.4; strongly 
fibered; clear smooth boundary. 

Of 2 30-160 Dark reddish brown (5.0 YR 3.0/4.0 m); sphagnum peat 

material; von Post 3; rubbed fiber 80%; pH 4.6; strongly 
fibered; clear smooth boundary. 

Of 3 160-215 Dark brown (7.5 YR 3.5/4.0 m); sedge-moss peat material; 

von Post 3; rubbed fiber 80%; pH 4.7; strongly fibered; 
clear smooth boundary. 

0co1 215-275 Dark brown (7.5YR 3.0/3.0 m); sedge-sedimentary peat; 

von Post 8; rubbed fiber 5%; pH 5.0; weakly fibered; 
gradual smooth boundary. 

0co2 275-500 Dark reddish brown (5.0YR 3.0/3.0 m) ; sedimentary peat 

material; von Post 9; rubbed fiber 2%; weakly layered; 
gradual smooth boundary. 

0co3 500-815 Dark brown (7.5YR 3.0/2.0 m); sedimentary peat material; 

von Post 9; rubbed fiber 1%; moderately layered; gradual 
smooth boundary. 

2Cg 815+ Dark greenish gray (5.0GY 4.5/1.0 m) ; silty clay; pH 

7.1. 



- 27 - 



Table 4: Field Description of Limno Humisol - Reference Sample No. 4 



Location: 92 B/13 48° 54' 25" Latitude (N) 123° 31' 54" Lonqitude (W) 
Classification: Limno Humisol 

Reference Sample No. 4: Humic peat material collected from 55-100 cm below 
the peat surface. 



Horizon Depth (cm) 

Oh 0-55 Dark reddish brown (5.0YR 2.5/2.0 m) ; amorphous peat 

material; strongly granular; clear and smooth boundary. 

0co1 55-155 Dark reddish brown (5.0YR 2.5/2.0 m); sedimentary peat 

material; von Post 9; rubbed fiber 1%; pH 6.8; layered 
weakly; diffuse boundary. 

Oco2 155-400 Dark olive gray (5.0YR 3.0/2.0 m); sedimentarv peat 

material; von Post 9; rubbed fiber 1%; pH 7.1; layered 
weakly; diffuse boundary. 

0co3 400-571 Dark olive gray (5.0YR 3.0/2.0 m) ; sedimentary peat 

material; von Post 10; rubbed fiber 1%; pH 7.5; layered 
weakly; diffuse boundary. 

Cg 571 Greenish gray (5GY 5.0/1.0 m); silty clay; pH 7.7. 



- 28 - 



Table 5: Field Description of Fibric Humisol - Reference Sample No. 5 



Location: 30L/14 42° 54' 40" Latitude (N) 79° 18' 58" Longitude (W) 
Classification: Fibric Humisol 

Reference Sample No. 5: Fibric peat material collected from 20-70 cm below 
the peat surface. 



Horizon Depth (cm) 

Of 0-80 Dark reddish brown (5.0YR 3.0/3.0 m); sphagnum peat 

material; von Post 3; rubbed fiber 70%; pH 4.6; strongly 
fibered; clear smooth boundary. 

Oh 80-210 Dark reddish brown (5.0YR 3.0/2.0 m); moss-amorphous 

peat material; von Post 7; rubbed fiber 8%; pH 4.9; 
weakly fibered; diffuse boundary. 

Om 210-315 Dark reddish brown (5.0YR 2.5/2.0 m) ; sedge-amorphous 

peat material; von Post 5; rubbed fiber 15%; moderately 
fibered; diffuse boundary. 

Cq 315 Gray (5.0YR 5.0/1.0 m); silty clay; pH 6.0 



29 - 



Table 6: Field Description of Typic Mesisol - Reference Sample No. 6 



Location: 31 D/02 44° 08' 28" Latitude (N) 78° 57' 44" Longitude (W) 
Classification: Typic Mesisol 

Reference Sample No. 6: Mesic peat material collected from 25-100 cm below 
the peat surface. 



Horizon Depth (cm) 

Oh 0-25 Black (5.0YR 2.5/1.0 m) ; amorphous peat material; von 

Post 7; rubbed fiber 9%; pH 6.4; moderately granular; 
gradual boundary. 

0m1 25-205 Dark reddish brown (5YR 3.0/2.0 m); amorphous-wood peat 

material; von Post 5; rubbed fiber 15%; pH 6.8; weaklv 
granular; diffuse boundary. 

0m2 205-305 Dark reddish brown (5YR 3.0/2.0 m) ; moss-amorphous peat 

material; von Post 6; rubbed fiber 10; pH 6.8; weakly 
fibered diffuse boundary. 

0m3 305-390 Dark reddish brown ( 5YR 3.0/2.0 m); moss-amorphous peat 

material; von Post 5; rubbed fiber 15%; pH 6.8; weakly 
fibered diffuse boundary. 

Ck 390-540 Dark grayish brown ( 1 0YR 4.0/2.0 m); marl; pH 7.0 

Cg 540 Gray (5YR 5.0/1.0 m); loam; pH 7.1 



- 30 - 



Evaluation of Results Obtained During a Workshop 
On Field Tests and Field Methods For Organic Soils 

D.J. Kroetsch 



INTRODUCTION 

As part of the Land Resource Research Institute Workshop on Field Tests 
and Sampling Methods for Organic Soils (May 19-20, 1983) six peat samples were 
collected as test materials to be evaluated in the field by the workshop 
participants. The six peat samples were collected from sites in the Ottawa 
area to represent fibric, mesic and humic peat materials. Estimates of the 
von Post scale of humif ication, field rubbed fiber, field pH (using dual pH 
paper) and botanical composition were made by the workshop participants on 
three of the soil samples each day. A summarization of the results of the 
first days testing was presented to each participant prior to the 
determinations for the second day and problems with the test methods were 
identified and discussed. 

The objective of this exercise was to familiarize the participants with 
some of the field tests being used to describe peat and to determine the 
variability of results associated with each test. It was also hoped that 
problems associated with the field tests would be identified and this would 
demonstrate the need for standardization of field procedures. Suggestions for 
acceptable levels of variability were discussed for each test. 

PEAT SAMPLES 

Sample 01 was collected in the Albion Road Swamp, (0-100 cm) a basin swamp 
with a tree cover of Acer rubrum , Populus tremuloides , Betula papyrifera and 
Thuja occidentalis . A site description records the soil classification as a 
Terric Humic Mesisol. The peat material is described as a wood amorphous 
(forest) peat underlain by a sedge (fen) peat and marl (Tarnocai, 1981). The 
determinations of field pH, rubbed fiber and von Post recorded on the Canadian 
Wetland Registry Input Document No. 05-82-03-01 for horizons Oh and 0h2 (0-96 
cm) are; pH 4.8 and 6.0, rubbed fiber 5% and von Post 7 and 8 respectively. 

Samples 02 and 05 were collected in the Gatineau Bog, (0-50 cm and 0-60 cm 
respectively) a basin bog with a Larix laricina , Picea mariana , Chamaedaphne 
calyculata , Ledum qroenlandicum and Sphagnum spp. cover. Sample 02 (von Post 
3-4, rubbed fiber 80%) was collected from the treeless center portion of the 
bog and was determined to be a fibric sphagnum peat. Sample 05 was collected 
from a treed portion of the bog and determined to be a fibric sphagnum peat, 
slightly more humified than sample 02. These soils have been classified as 
Typic Fibrisols. 

Sample 03 was collected from the Osgoode Swamp (0-120 cm) a stream swamp 
with a cover of Populus tremuloides , Acer rubrum , Alnus rugosa and Spiarea 
alba . The soil classification for this site is a Typic Mesisol and the peat 
material is described as a wood amorphous peat underlain by a sedge amorphous 
peat. The field estimates of pH, rubbed fiber and von Post were; pH 6.3 and 
6.8, rubbed fiber 5% and 16% and von Post 6 and 7 respectively for the Oh and 
Om horizons sampled (Canadian Wetland Registry Input Document No. 
05-83-04-04). 



- 31 - 



Sample 04 was collected from the Mer Bleue Bog (100-150 cm) a basin bog 
with a Chamaedaphne calyculata , Ledum groenlandicum , Vaccinium myrtilloides 
and Sphagnum spp. cover. Tarnocai (1981) classified the soil at an adjacent 
site as a Typic Mesisol, Sphagnic phase and described the peat material as a 
sphagnum peat underlain by a sedge fen peat. 

Sample 06 was collected in the Winchester Swamp (50-150 cm) a peat margin 
swamp with a shrub cover of Spiarea alba , Salix spp. and Cornus stolonifera. 
The soil classification recorded in the Canadian Wetland Registry Input 
Document No. 05-83-05-06 is a Typic Mesisol and the peat is described as a 
wood amorphous peat underlain by an amorphous sedge peat (30% amorphous, 60% 
sedae composition). The pH is 5.4, rubbed fiber 35% and von Post 05, for the 
Om horizon sampled. 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 

The range, mean and standard deviation of the field estimates of pH, 
rubbed fiber and the von Post scale of humif ication, were calculated and are 
summarized in Table 1. Laboratory determinations of pH (air dry samples) and 
rubbed fiber are included for comparison. 

Field pH: 

The summmarized field estimates of pH have the least variability of the 
three field tests. The range of standard deviations for field pH estimates is 
0.22 to 0.56 units. The range of standard deviations for the von Post 
estimates and the estimates of field rubbed fiber are 0.89 to 1.44 and 8.81 to 
18.76 respectively. 

There is a decrease in variability of pH estimates for samples 04, 05 and 
06 (samples evaluated durina the second day). A possible explanation for this 
observation could be that the summarized results of the first days test were 
discussed prior to the second days testing and the problems individuals were 
having using the pH paper were corrected. 

It is interesting to note that when the mean field pH values are compared 
to laboratory determinations of pH (air dry ground samples), the results are 
not the same. Samples 02 and 05, Sphagnum peat materials have laboratory pH 
values significantly lower than there mean field pH values. Samples 01 , 03 
and 06 wood amorphous peat materials have pH values significantly higher than 
the mean field pH values. The process of air drying, grinding and sample 
storage appears to alter the pH of the peat from that of the field estimates. 

von Post: 

Compared to the field estimates of pH the field estimates of the von Post 
scale of humification had the next greatest variability. By rounding off the 
mean estimates of the von Post scale of humification for the six samples, 
sample 04 (H=7) is in the humic range, samples 01 (H=6), 03 (H=6), 05 (H=4) 
and 06 (H=5) are in the mesic ranqe and sample 02 (H=3) is in the fibric 
range. Again there is a decrease in variability during the second day of 
testing, possibly due to the discussion of the first day summarized results. 
The participants were also familiar with the correct techniques by the second 
day. 



- 32 



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- 33 - 



Table 2: A summarization of peat material descriptions (based on Botanical 
Composition) and the number (percent) of participants using each 
description. 



Sample 01 Albion Road Swamp 



Sample 02 Gatineau Bog 



DESCRIPTION 



NO. 



DESCRIPTION 



NO, 



Amorphous peat 
Wood amorphous peat 
Wood moss peat 
Wood peat 
Wood-brown moss peat 



7 


30 


Sphagnum peat 


6 


27 


4 


17 


Sedge sphagnum peat 


4 


18 


2 


9 


Sedge peat 


2 


9 


2 


9 


Amorphous sphagnum peat 


1 


5 


1 


4 









Sample 03 Osgoode Swamp 






Sample 04 Mer Bleue Bog 






DESCRIPTION 


NO. 


% 


DESCRIPTION 


NO. 


% 



Amorphous peat 
Wood amorphous peat 
Sedge amorphous peat 
Sedimentary-amorphous peat 
Moss amorphous peat 
Brown moss amorphous peat 
Wood moss peat 
Wood sedge peat 



18 
14 
14 
5 
5 
5 
5 
5 



Amorphous peat 
Sedge amorphous peat 
Wood amorphous peat 
Brown moss amorphous peat 
Sphagnum amorphous peat 
Moss amorphous peat 



6 


29 


5 


24 


3 


14 


1 


5 


1 


5 


1 


5 



Sample 05 Gatineau Bog 



Sample 06 Winchester Swamp 



DESCRIPTION 



NO. 



DESCRIPTION 



NO. 



Sphagnum peat 
Wood Sphagnum peat 
Amorphous Sphagnum peat 



15 


75 


3 


14 


1 


5 



Wood amorphous peat 
Moss amorphous peat 
Sedge amorphous peat 
Sphagnum amorphous peat 



8 


38 


3 


14 


3 


14 


1 


5 



- 34 - 



Field Rubbed Fiber: 

From the summarization of the estimates of field rubbed fiber, the large 
deqree of variability of this procedure can be seen. For example sample 01 
had a mean value of 18.96(%) and a standard deviation of 18.76, estimates 
ranging from 5-80%. Due to the entirely subjective nature of this test, this 
procedure would seem to be the least reliable. 

The mean estimates of field rubbed fiber indicate that samples 01, 03, 04 
and 06 are within the mesic range of rubbed fiber (10-40%) and samples 02 and 
05 are fibric peats (rubbed fiber >40%). Laboratory determination of fiber 
contents also characterizes samples 01, 03, 04 and 06 as mesic peats and 
samples 02 and 05 as a fibric peat. 

It would seem that due to the large degree of variability, the field ■ 
rubbed fiber is useful in the field to place a peat material into the range of 
humic, mesic or fibric. However, the final designation of a horizon should be 
verified with laboratory rubbed fiber determinations. 

Botanical Composition: 

The identification of the botanical components of the peat samples (and 
the estimate of the percent of the sample they constitute) was the final 
determination. Table 2 represents the summary of the variable estimates of 
botanical composition and the ability of the workshop participants to identify 
the dominant botanical component (s) of each sample. 

Table 2 is a summarization of the peat material descriptions and the 
number of participants describing the peat material (according to one of the 
descriptions) for each sample. The peat material description is based upon 
the estimated percent of each botanical component and which is present in the 
greatest percent volume or which is dominant. For example, if a participant 
described the botanical composition of a sample as sedge - 50%, wood - 30% and 
moss - 20%, the peat material is a woody sedge peat. Sedge describes the 
dominant botanical component and woody the subdominant or minor component. 

From the summary of the descriptions of peat materials (Table 2) for 
sample 01 , Albion Road Swamp, 47% of the participants identified the dominant 
component as amorphous and 30% described the subdominant component as wood. 
Seventeen percent described the sample as a wood amorphous peat. 

Sample 02, Gatineau Bog is described as dominantly sphagnum by 50% of the 
participants and 27% described the subdominant component as sedge. 

Thirteen (13) of the participants (59%) described sample 03, Osgoode Swamp 
as having a dominantly amorphous composition and 20% identified the 
subdominant component as wood. 

From the Table 2 summary of peat material descriptions 81% of the 
participants identify the amorphous component as dominant and sedge was 
identified as the subdominant component by 25%. The peat material is 
described as a sedge amorphous peat by 25% of the participants. 



- 35 - 

Ninety (90) percent of the workshop participants described sample 05, 
Gatineau Bog, as a dominantly sphagnum peat and 71% described the sample as 
having a greater than or egual to 75% sphagnum composition. 

Sample 06 collected from the Winchester Swamp is described as an amorphous 

dominant peat by 71% of the participants and as a (subdominant) wood peat by 

42%. The peat material is described as a wood amorphous peat by 38% of the 
participants. 

Therefore for all six samples the participants were able to identify the 
dominant botanical component. There was a greater difficulty identifying the 
subdominant botanical component which demonstrated the need to become more 
familiar with the botanical constituents of peat to be better able to 
recognize and describe the botanical components. 

SUMMARY 

Comparing the summarized results of field pH, von Post and rubbed fiber, 
field pH appeared to be the test with least variability. There seemed to be 
an increase in variability as the tests became more subjective or 
gualitative. Field pH is the more guantitative test, the comparison of the 
dual strip pH paper to a numbered scale, yielding an estimated pH value. The 
von Post estimate of degree of humification is more subjective or qualitative 
in nature requiring the interpretive analysis of the colour of the water 
squeezed from the sample, the amount of peat escaping between the fingers when 
the sample is squeezed and the structure of the sample remaining in the hand 
compared to a descriptive scale (Appendix I). The estimate of percent field 
rubbed fiber is entirely a qualitative evaluation requiring the identification 
and estimate of percent volume of various plant fiber remains. 

The identification of the botanical constituents of a peat sample and 
their percent volumes is also a totally qualitative field estimate. This 
estimate requires the ability to recognize and identify plant remains in 
various stages of decomposition and to be able to consistently estimate their 
percent volumes. There appeared to have been a problem identifying the 
various botanical components. There is a tendancy to identify botanical 
remains as amorphous not only because it is unrecognizeable but also because 
it is unknown. 

It appears that for all estimates the variability decreased for the second 
day of testing. The discussion of the first days summarized results and the 
problems associated with each testing procedure may explain this observation. 
Also by the second dav of testing the participants were familiar with the 
correct methodology for each of the tests and had some experience working with 
peat and identifying various botanical remains. 

This workshop was beneficial in that it helped identify the variability 
associated with the field testing procedures (estimates) and which method 
gives the most consistent information. The results of this workshop allow 
comparison and ultimately standardization of field technigues for uniform data 
collection amonq various researchers. 

A number of recommendations and suggestions resulted from discussions 
during this workshop. The sugqestions will hopefully aid in this 
standardization procedure. 



- 36 - 



SUGGESTIONS 

Field pH: 

It is important that the reactive portion of the pH paper does not come in 
contact with the skin (fingers), therefore the paper should he pushed into the 
peat sample with a clean stick or a piece of the peat being sampled. If the 
peat sample is very wet the reading should be taken very quickly before the 
diagnostic colour can be leached or washed out by the excess water. The peat 
sample may be very dry and not react with the pH paper, this may necessitate 
rewetting the sample with distilled water. 

It was suggested that the field pH test using dual pH paper is accurate 
plus or minus 0.5 pH units. 

von Post scale of humif ication: 

This procedure should be standardized periodically throughout the sampling 
season, amongst the persons sampling the peat in the same region or those 
exchanging data. ^lso this procedure should be done in conjunction with a 
descriptive scale (Appendix I) several times until the tester is familiar and 
confident with the method. 

Rubbed fiber: 

For the estimation of field rubbed fiber this procedure should be 
standardized against the syringe method of fiber determination (Day, 1981) 
periodically throughout the sampling season and amongst the person doing the 
sampling. 

Botanical composition: 

For the recognition and identification of botanical remains and the 
estimation of their percent volume, the person describing the peat should make 
sure they are familiar with the various plant materials which may constitute a 
peat soil. The use of a hand lens may improve the recognition, identification 
and estimation of percent volume of the botanical components in a sample. 

Hopefully the findings and suggestions presented in this workshop will 
demonstrate the need for, and aid in the standardization of peat testing 
methods to facilitate the transfer of information regionally and nationally. 



- 37 - 



REFERENCES 

Day, J.H. 1981. Organic soil Field tests. Proceedings of a Workshop on 

Organic Soil Mapping and Interpretation. Ed. C. Tarnocai. Land Resource 
Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa. 

Tarnocai, C. 1981. Organic Soil Tour in the Ottawa Area. Land Resource 
Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa. 



- 38 - 

APPENDIX I 

von Post Scale of Humif ication: 

The von Post method is a field test used to estimate the stage of 
decomposition (H-value) of peat. The H-value is determined by squeezing a 
sample of fresh peat within the closed hand and observing the colour of the 
solution that is expressed between the fingers, the nature of the fibers, and 
the proportion of the original sample that remains in the hand. The degree of 
decomposition remains (H-value) is measured on an ordinal scale with ten 
classes defined as follows: 

H-Value 

01 - Living moss layer. Usually the surface 2-4 cm. Cannot be considered 

"peat", as it is still living. 

02 - The structure and form of the plant material is complete. The only 

difference between H-| and H 2 is that an H 2 peat is not living. 
When squeezing, clear to slightly yellowish water is emitted. The 
peat sample in the hand is normally bright yellow-orange in colour, 
especially after squeezing. The sample is spongy, or elastic - upon 
squeezing, the compressed sample sprinqs back, and will take little 
or no shape. 

03 - The plant material is still very easily distinguishable, but the 

individual Sphagnum "stalks" are breaking up into pieces, as opposed 
to continuous lengths of stems, etc. When squeezing, yellow water 
with some plant debris (mostly individual leaves) are emitted. The 
colour of the sample is somewhat darker than an H 2 peat. The 
sample is still spongy, but less than H 2 - after squeezing, the 
peat will spring back to a point where a vague to fairly definite 
form of the handprint in distinguishable. 

04 - The plant material is not as easily distinguishable as in H3 

because the "pieces" of peat, as mentioned above, are now 
disintegrating, therefore vou are often dealing with individual 
stems, branches, and leaves. When squeezing, light brown to brown 
water and alot of debris is emitted. The sample is not spongy, and 
upon rubbing, a slightly soapy or humic texture is detected. Upon 
squeezing, the sample makes a perfect replica of the handprint, 
commonly called "brass knuckles". It should be noted that after 
squeezing a peat sample, the difference in shape between an H3 and 
H4, is that an H3 is "rounded off" as opposed to the definite 
"sharp" ridges left by the finqers on an H4 sample. No peat 
escapes the finqers. 

05 - The plant material is reachinq a staqe of decomposition where the 

individual components (branches, leaves, stems) are now startinq to 
break up, such that, some amorphous, or unstructured material is 
present. When squeezinq, definite brown water is emitted. This 
water is reachinq the point where it can no lonqer be termed "water", 
but is a definite solution. The sample has a more definite soapy, or 
humic texture, yet rouqhness is still present. Upon squeezing a very 
small amount of the sample escapes between the fingers. 



- 39 - 



06 - The plant material has decomposed to the extent where almost half of 

the sample is in an amorphous or unstructured state. Plant 
constituents are still distinguishable upon close examination in the 
hand. Upon squeezing, brown to dark brown water is emitted. The 
sample is pasty and very malleable. Upon squeezinq, approximately 
one- third of the peat escapes between the fingers as a paste. 

07 - The original plant material is practically undistinguishable and a 

very close examination in the hand is needed to see that there are 
still vague structures present. If the sample is "worked" in the 
hand, this structure will disappear. It should be noted that such 
things as wood, sedge roots, and Eriophorum fibres are often very 
resistant to decomposition, and can be present in their "original" 
state of humified peats up to Hy. Upon gentle squeezing, a small 
amount of very dark water is emitted. When the final squeeze is 
performed, over half of the material escapes the hand. 

08 - The only distinguishable plant remains are roots and/or Eriophorum 

fibres, when present. If appreciable amounts of roots or fibres are 
present, the peat cannot be considered to be an H3 , even though the 
remaining material is such. The "appreciable amounts" of these 
materials occurs when they interfere with the sgueezing out of the 
remaining amorphous material. If actual wood "pieces or chips" are 
present in the sample, regardless of the amount, this alone 
classifies the peat as an H7. Little or no water is emitted upon 
gentle squeezing. The final squeeze results in over two thirds of 
the peat escaping the hand. 

09 - A very homogenous, amorphous sample containing no roots or fibres. 

There is no_ free water emitted upon squeezinq, and almost all of the 
sample escapes the hand. 

10 - Very rare to non-existent in non-sedimentary peats. In sedimentary 

peats, the particle size can be extremely small resulting in 
"pudding-like" homogenous material. Upon squeezing, all of the 
sample escapes the hand. 

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS 

When using the colour of the water emitted from a sample to help in 
determination, it is important to note that it must be the initial, or free 
water that is looked at, from an unsqueezed sample. As the sample is squeezed 
more and more, this is "humifying" the- sample and thus water emitted is not 
going to reflect the initial state of the peat. 

It is important to "release" as much water as possible from the sample before 
the final squeeze determination is made, otherwise a much higher humification 
value will result. This is done by squeezing the sample in the hand gently, 
as opposed to the "final squeeze" which is firm. 

As mentioned above, the action of squeezing the sample in the hand will humify 
and disturb the sample (especially the higher humif ications ) such that the 
least amount of initial squeezinq to qet the most water out, is necessary. 



- 40 - 



The initial water colour test has a number of drawbacks, the main one being 
that the colour of the water, especially in the more humified peats, depends 
stronqly on the botanical composition of the peat. For example, even a small 
amount of charcoal in the peat will turn the water darker. This test can be 
used, but it is very limited. As far as we are concerned, the other indicators 
(texture, dis tinguishability of plant remains, and the final squeeze test) are 
sufficient for the determination of the von Post degree. It is important that 
all of these indicators are used together to determine the degree of 
composition. 



- 41 - 



Workshop Participants 



Arafat, Nabil 
N.W.R.I./A.E.D./E.I.S. 
Environment Canada 
867 Lakeshore Blvd. 
Burlington, Ontario 



Glooschenko, Walter 

National Water Research Institute 

Environment Canada 

P.O. Box 5050 

Burlington, Ontario 



Blakeman, Bill 

Mining Division 

EPS - Environment Canada 

13th Floor, Place Vincent Massey 

Ottawa, Ontario 

K1A 1C8 



Grenon, Lucie 

Equipe Pedologique Federale 

Pavilion Comtois 

University Laval 

Ste-Foy, Quebec 



Bourbonniere, Rick 
N.W.R.I./CCIW 
P.O. Box 5050 
Burlington, Ontario 
L7R 4A6 



Hellas, Linda 
Bird and Hale Ltd . 
1263 Bay Street 
Toronto, Ontario 



Boissonneau, Arthur 

Ontario Centre for Remote Sensing 

Ministry of Natural Resources 

880 Bay St. 3rd Floor 

Toronto, Ontario 

M5S 1 Z8 



Hirvonen, Harry 
Lands Directorate 
Environment Canada 
5th Floor, Queen Square 
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia 
B2Y 2N6 



Day, John 

Land Resource Research Institute 

K.W. Neatby Bldg. 

Car ling Avenue 

Ottawa, Ontario 

K1A 0C6 



Kocaaglu, Sudi 

Energy and Natural Resources 

Edmonton, Alberta 



Denis, Robert J. 

Ecological Services for Planning Ltd, 

530 Willow Road, Unit 8 A 

Guelph, Ontario 

N1H 6L3 



Kroetsch, David 

Land Resource Research Institute 

K.W. Neatby Bldg. Car ling Ave. 

Ottawa, Ontario 

K1A 0C6 



Eagle, Allen 

Land Resource Research Institute 

K.W. Neatby Bldg. 

Carling Avenue 

Ottawa, Ontario 

K1A 0C6 



Lapointe, Mario 

Equipe Pedologique Federale 

Pavilion Comtois 

Universite Laval 

Ste-Foy, Quebec 



Fox, Cathy 

Land Resource Research Institute 

K.W. Neatby Bldg. 



Moores, Bruce 

Environment Protection Service 

Environment Canada 



- 42 - 



Narraway, John 

Ontario Centre for Remote Sensing 

Ministry of Natural Resources 

880 Bay St. 3rd Floor 

Toronto, Ontario 

M5S 1Z8 



Storr, Deborah 
Alberta Research Council 
6th Floor, Terrace Plaza 
4445 Calgary Trail 
Edmonton, Alberta 
T6H 5R7 



Oswald, Ed 

Pacific Forest Research Centre 

Environment Canada 

506 West Burnside Road 

Victoria, B.C. 

V8Z 1M5 



Tarnocai, C. 

Land Resource Research Institute 

K.W. Neatby Bldg. 

Carling Avenue 

Ottawa, Ontario 

K1A 0C6 



Paine, Peter 

Mining Division 

EPS - Environment Canada 

1 3th Floor Place Vincent Massey 

Ottawa, Ontario 

K1A 1C8 



Turchenek, Larry 
Alberta Research Council 
6th Floor, Terrace Plaza 
4445 Calgary Trail 
Edmonton, Alberta 
T6H 5R7 



Riley, John 

Ontario Geological Survey 

Ministry of Natural Resources 

Rm. 727, 77 Grenville St. 

Toronto, Ontario 

M5S 1B3 



Van Wyck, Peter 

Dendron Resource Surveys Ltd. 

P.O. Box 6493, Station "J" 

Ottawa, Ontario 

K2A 3Y6 



Sayn - Wittgenstein, Leo 
Dendron Resource Surveys Ltd. 
P.O. Box 6493, Station "J" 
Ottawa, Ontario 
K2A 3Y6 



Zoltai, S.C. 

Northern Forest Research Centre 

Canadian Forestry Service 

5320-1 22nd Street 

Edmonton, Alberta 

T6H 3S5 



Stevenson, Julie 

Ontario Geological Survey 

Ministry of Natural Resources 

77 Grenville St. 

Toronto, Ontario 

M5S 1B3 



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AGRICULTURE CANADA OTTAWA TlA OC5 

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